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Article
Publication date: 3 February 2021

Michel Klein

The concept of emotional labor refers to the management of emotions in interaction with customers. This study aims to suggest an integrative definition of emotional labor…

Abstract

Purpose

The concept of emotional labor refers to the management of emotions in interaction with customers. This study aims to suggest an integrative definition of emotional labor. It develops a conceptual framework that helps organize and synthesize key insights from the literature, in an interactional and multi-level perspective.

Design/methodology/approach

This integrated framework consists in a mapping of key research themes resulting from a systematic literature review, which includes research in sales and marketing. As critical affective processes in sales have not been studied sufficiently, both in business-to-business and business-to-customer selling, this review also incorporates works in other research fields.

Findings

Sales representatives’ emotional labor must be considered as a bi-directional interaction with the customer in a multi-level perspective. Moreover, emotional labor has rather negative consequences for the salesperson (e.g. burnout and job stress), but may have positive sales and customer outcomes. Findings suggest that the expression of genuine emotions should be used during sales interactions. In addition, organizations should prevent customers’ negative behaviors (e.g. mistreatment).

Practical implications

Emotional labor key practical implications with regard to several management functions such as the recruitment, performance management and training (Ashkanasy and Daus, 2002) of the sales representatives.

Originality/value

Research on emotional labor in a sales ecosystem is scarce. It has largely covered service industry employees in contact with customers, but has not paid enough attention to sales representatives (Mikeska et al., 2015). The proposed integrated framework concerning emotional labor focuses on the bi-directional interaction between the sales representatives and their customers.

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Article
Publication date: 22 February 2021

Naveen Donthu, Satish Kumar, Riya Sureka and Rohit Joshi

This study aims to map the major research constituents and trends for the Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing (JBIM) during its 34-year history (1986–2019). It…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to map the major research constituents and trends for the Journal of Business and Industrial Marketing (JBIM) during its 34-year history (1986–2019). It also identifies JBIM’s thematic structure and the key factors affecting the impact of its articles.

Design/methodology/approach

The Scopus database is used to identify the bibliographic data of JBIM. The most prolific authors, institutions and countries in the journal are analyzed through weighted distributions of articles. The thematic structure of the journal is evaluated by means of bibliographic coupling analysis. The study also examines the factors influencing citations of JBIM articles through regression modeling.

Findings

JBIM publishes contributions from around the world, though the most prolific contributors are affiliated with the USA, UK and Finland. Thematic analysis divided JBIM articles into five major themes. Citation analysis reveals that article age, special issue appearance, number of author keywords and number of references are prominent factors explaining an article’s impact.

Research limitations/implications

This study uses data from the Scopus database, and limitations of the database have implications for the findings.

Originality/value

This is the first comprehensive study to identify the thematic structure and the factors affecting citations of JBIM articles.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 1996

Antonis C. Simintiras and John W. Cadogan

Despite the acknowledged importance of an understanding of the determinants of and processes affecting the salesperson‐customer interaction, this issue still remains an…

Abstract

Despite the acknowledged importance of an understanding of the determinants of and processes affecting the salesperson‐customer interaction, this issue still remains an enigma. Posits that, of the two main philosophical stances available in the study of human behaviour (i.e. mediationism and behaviourism), the prevailing approaches adopted in the study of the salesperson‐customer interaction are mediationistic in nature and are, for the most part, uncritically accepted. States that in order to improve current understanding of the salesperson‐customer interaction, alternative sources for explaining this dyad should be introduced into the field of study. Argues that the competing philosophical stance offered by radical behaviourism may be suitable for this purpose, providing an examination of how this approach can be utilized to explain buying behaviour within the sales interaction context.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 34 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2006

Richard P. Bagozzi

The aim of this paper is to go beyond the received view, which is solely rational and economic minded, and to introduce the concept of self‐regulation of behavior by…

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to go beyond the received view, which is solely rational and economic minded, and to introduce the concept of self‐regulation of behavior by salespersons and customers as essential mechanisms for initiating, maintaining, and resolving business‐to‐business exchanges.

Design/methodology/approach

By reviewing emerging research, this paper examines the role of positive and negative social and self‐conscious emotions in salesperson‐customer interactions and how salespersons and customers cope with the response of these emotions so as to better function and adapt to their own, their organizations, and the interpersonal needs of their relationships and to do so mindful of the requisites of co‐workers and the common good.

Findings

Four positive emotions were singled‐out as essential to salesperson‐customer relations: pride, attachment, empathy, and emotional wisdom. Six negative emotions were highlighted as key processes in salesperson‐customer relations: guilt, shame, embarrassment, envy, jealousy, and social anxiety. Some research was reviewed as well, suggesting that cultural factors in the form of different self‐construal (e.g. independent versus independent‐based self‐images) moderate the expression of felt positive and negative emotions and their effects on performance and relations with customers and co‐workers.

Originality/value

The ideas presented in this paper can complement economic and other extreme rational explanations of salesperson and customer behavior and point to new practices in such managerial areas as staffing, training, coaching, compensating, and promoting employees.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 21 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 July 2020

Jarkko Niemi and Ellen Bolman Pullins

This paper aims to explore salesperson–customer interactions to identify actual behaviors that result in enhanced customer disclosure and classify them as disclosure…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore salesperson–customer interactions to identify actual behaviors that result in enhanced customer disclosure and classify them as disclosure tactics, and to explore whether certain tactics are more likely to lead to salesperson–customer relationship advancement.

Design/methodology/approach

This qualitative research uses conversation analysis to identify salesperson disclosure tactics that result in customer disclosure, using 12 video-recordings of authentic business-to-business initial sales meetings between a salesperson and customer.

Findings

Findings showed four disclosure tactics that salespeople use to get customers to disclose information: embedded expertise claims, tailored references, demonstrations of preparation and customer orientation and benevolence. These tactics appear more often and are executed differently in sales meetings that successfully advance.

Originality/value

The research addresses an unexplored area of specific salesperson behaviors and their connection to customer disclosure and relationship advancement in the exploration phase. Additionally, this fills a gap that cannot be addressed with traditional survey or interview data and brings conversation analysis to this particular area.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 36 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 February 2018

Duleep Delpechitre and Lisa Beeler

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how salesperson’s emotional intelligence (EI) influences salesperson behaviors (i.e. emotional labor strategies) and the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how salesperson’s emotional intelligence (EI) influences salesperson behaviors (i.e. emotional labor strategies) and the influence these behavioral strategies have on customer’s outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The study develops a conceptual model using past literature and tests hypotheses using a salesperson-prospective customer dyadic sample. To participate in the study, 224 salespeople and their potential customers were recruited from three different companies.

Findings

Results reveal the importance of conceptualizing the dimensionality of a salesperson’s EI ability, as different dimensions impact customer outcomes differently. Additionally, the importance of salesperson’s authentic emotional labor strategies is highlighted.

Practical implications

EI is a foundation for successful selling in a business-to-business environment, but it is not a silver bullet. Sales managers and recruiters should use assessment tools to evaluate sales recruit’s EI, but it is also critical to train salespeople to engage in deep acting, creating authentic emotions in the buyer-seller relationship.

Originality/value

Using a dyadic sample, this study suggests that the dimensions of EI and emotional labor strategies influence customer’s perception of salesperson’s trustworthiness and propensity to continue the relationship with the salesperson differently. Specifically, not all dimensions of salesperson’s EI is found to be positive, and only salesperson’s authentic (deep) emotional strategies are found to influence customer outcomes positively.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 October 2011

Lynn Eunjung Kwak and Jane Z. Sojka

The purpose of this paper is to examine differences between Hispanic and Asian immigrants and their preferences in the appearance of and interaction with salespeople.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine differences between Hispanic and Asian immigrants and their preferences in the appearance of and interaction with salespeople.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 171 female Hispanic and 153 Asian female retail consumers in a midwestern city, who immigrated to the USA, were surveyed. Salesperson‐customer interaction and preference for salespeople with a similar ethnic appearance were assessed.

Findings

Findings from F‐tests indicated that in this study Asians have a significantly greater preference for a salesperson similar in appearance to themselves and Hispanics have significantly greater preference for salespeople who offer attentive service.

Practical implications

Retailers will benefit by understanding and capitalizing on differences which will encourage customer loyalty to their retail stores.

Originality/value

Extending the observable characteristics facet of the buyer‐seller similarity model, the research results suggest that buyers from different ethnic groups will assess salesperson characteristics differently.

Details

American Journal of Business, vol. 26 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1935-5181

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2015

Rakesh Singh and Pingali Venugopal

This study aims to address the need to study salesperson’s customer orientation and its effectiveness to explain the efficacy of predispositions and skills at individual…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to address the need to study salesperson’s customer orientation and its effectiveness to explain the efficacy of predispositions and skills at individual level. This study is set in the Indian context and, therefore, offers a detailed insight from an Indian sales force perspective. Also, this study introduces self-leadership into sales literature.

Design/methodology/approach

A model was tested using survey data collected from salespeople within a print media company located in India. A structural equation model was used to test the hypotheses.

Findings

The results suggest an interesting interplay between salesperson’s customer orientation and his/her sales performance. The relationship between customer orientation is fully mediated by salesperson’s emotion regulation ability and his/her salesmanship skills. Results support the role of natural rewards strategies as driver of individual level customer orientation which will be of great interest in future research in this area.

Research limitations/implications

The research suggests that a salesperson’s customer orientation relates positively with sales performance through two process variables – emotion regulation and salesmanship skills. Within an Indian sales force, individual salesperson’s customer orientation is significantly influenced by his/her natural rewards strategies which have important implication for sales force recruitment. Moreover, sales training and other interventions targeted toward building salesmanship skills and emotion regulation abilities may actually enhance effectiveness of customer-oriented sales force. Theoretical and managerial applications are also discussed.

Originality/value

This study extends the literature through its examination of an Indian sales force, the incorporation of self-leadership construct (natural rewards strategies) and its argument for an alternative approach toward salesperson’s customer orientation effectiveness.

Details

Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, vol. 30 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0885-8624

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 January 2012

Ramendra Singh and Abraham Koshy

The purpose of this article is to provide a new conceptualization of a salesperson's customer orientation, as a multi‐dimensional construct. The authors aim to base their…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to provide a new conceptualization of a salesperson's customer orientation, as a multi‐dimensional construct. The authors aim to base their new conceptualization on extensive evidence from literature review, and synthesis of the review of literature.

Design/methodology/approach

An extensive literature review of the extant conceptualizations and operationalizations of salesperson's customer orientation is first carried out. Based on the review and synthesis of literature, a salesperson's customer orientation with six domain areas is conceptualized, through several propositions in the paper.

Findings

The findings of this study suggest that salesperson's customer orientation has six domain areas, namely, providing information to customers, understanding customer needs, fulfilling customer needs, creating and delivering customer value, sustaining customer satisfaction, and maintaining long‐term relationships with customers.

Practical implications

The sales managers can now apply more specifically, any of the six domain areas of customer‐oriented selling, and understand the conditions under which a particular domain area is important for customers.

Originality/value

Salesperson's customer orientation hitherto has been considered only as an application of the marketing concept. The domain of this construct, or its various sub‐domain areas were not clearly delineated so far in the literature. This paper clearly explicates the domain areas of the construct while defining customer‐oriented selling in the changed world of selling today.

Details

Marketing Intelligence & Planning, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0263-4503

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 September 2015

Ainsworth Anthony Bailey

Even though there has been anecdotal evidence regarding the use of ingratiation techniques in retail salesperson-shopper interactions, surprisingly, there has been limited…

Abstract

Purpose

Even though there has been anecdotal evidence regarding the use of ingratiation techniques in retail salesperson-shopper interactions, surprisingly, there has been limited research on the nature of these ingratiatory techniques and their impact on consumers’ perceptions and attitudes. The research reported here was conducted to determine the extent to which different ingratiation techniques that have been identified as techniques used in non-retailing domains are also used by retail salespersons in salesperson-shopper interactions. In addition, it sought to assess whether there are additional ingratiation techniques used by retail salespersons in salesperson-shopper interactions that have not been identified in existing ingratiation literature. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Two studies, drawing on research on ingratiation in other domains, were conducted in pursuit of realising the purpose. Study 1 was a survey involving a sample of 282 participants, which yielded 267 useable critical incident reports and 283 discrete examples of ingratiatory behaviours. Participants responded to various questions including a critical incident question. Cross-tabulations were, for the main part, used in assessing responses. A second survey involving 158 participants was undertaken as a verification study. This Study 2 yielded 144 useable responses.

Findings

Based on a critical incident technique (CIT), other enhancement: compliment and praise was the ingratiation technique most frequently cited by participants in the first sample, with product-customer enhancement being second and favour-rendering third. The Study 2 confirmed other enhancement: compliment and praise and product-customer enhancement as the top two techniques. Four new categories of ingratiatory behaviours emerged in retail salesperson-shopper interactions, and many of the ingratiatory behaviours previously identified in non-retailing contexts also exist in this retailing context.

Research limitations/implications

Both samples are US samples, and the method used was the CIT. Though the US samples are appropriate for this study, the study could be extended to other groups and across cultures, to see whether cultural differences in the use of, and consumer responses to, ingratiation techniques exist. The study also did not look at the retail salespeople’s perspectives regarding the use of these techniques. Hence further research should address dyadic interpretations of a single ingratiatory encounter; and efforts should also be made to assess how consumers respond to ingratiation in retailing.

Practical implications

The studies result in a classification of the influence techniques used most often in retail settings in the USA. Retailers should be aware that customers may, therefore, expect certain kinds of influence tactics and may not respond in the same way when there is a departure from a “customary” influence tactic.

Originality/value

Not much research has explored the different kinds of ingratiation techniques used in retail contexts; nor has the stream of research sought to categorise them.

Details

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, vol. 43 no. 9
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-0552

Keywords

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